Separately, dozens of Sudanese refugees in Israel demonstrated near Mr. Olmert’s office on Sunday, protesting plans to house them in a prison camp before returning them to Egypt. About 1,200 Sudanese refugees, including 300 from the war-torn Darfur region, have crossed into Israel illegally from Egypt. The Israeli government plans to house hundreds of the refugees, including children, in what it calls a “hospitality facility” on the grounds of the Ketziot prison in the Negev, pending deportation.
The issue of the Sudanese refugees has become an emotional one in Israel, with local student and social activist groups helping to cater to their needs. The protesters held signs saying “No to expulsion” and “Refugees are not criminals,” and they urged Mr. Olmert to annul a government decision to send them back to Egypt.\